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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Are We Siting on the Edge of a Nuclear Disaster?

It is now reported that 7 out 10 nuclear reactors in the Fukushima complex are now in some level of trouble. So it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a nuclear engineer to conclude that these nuclear plants were not designed safe enough for entirely predictable geologic events. I am neither and it's been 40+ years since freshman physics but I can do the math. 7 out of 10 means that it wasn't a 'freak accident' or 'human error' or 'freak double failure'. 7 out of 10 means there is a fundamental design or philosophy flaw in the creation of these nuclear power plants.

They have failed the real world test.

Any release of man-made radiation into the environment does irreparable damage to the environment. I will allow that a tiny release does 'insignificant' damage but I challenge the nuclear experts at DKos to correct me on this.

Also yesterday I heard a Japanese nuclear engineer on NHK say that nuclear plants were designed to survive an earthquake of a given magnitude but only a single event, the effects of aftershocks weren't considered! He seemed to be talking about all modern nuclear plants, not just those in Japan. Please tell me that's not true. I don't have to check with Lucy to know that earthquakes are quite often accompanied by aftershocks. If the standard to which Fukushima was engineered didn't call for the ability to survive at least a 9.0, and a number of aftershocks in the 7.0 range and a tsunami, it wasn't designed to be safe in entirely predictable real world events.

Now I have also read somewhere that San Onofre, positioned on the beach between Los Angeles and San Diego is designed to withstand at least a 7.0! Please tell me that's not true because I think that if it's not designed to survive at least a 9.0, and a number of aftershocks in the 7.0 range and a tsunami, we are sitting on the edge of a nuclear disaster.

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